Welding is joining of two metals by heating the surfaces to the point of melting. I have been learning how to weld for almost two years. I have been learning at Eden Area ROP in Hayward. At ROP there are only three types of welding to learn: TIG, MIG, and Stick and also Plasma Cutting. All these different types of welding require about the same protective equipment. They all require safety glasses, leather jacket, leather gloves, work boots, a welding helmet, earplugs, and a proper pair of pants usually jeans. The welding helmet comes in many different shades for the different processes. The different shades vary on a number. For almost any type of welding you would need a shade 12 lens. Plasma Cutting would need a shade 5, it’s not as bright as the other processes.
These are some of the items that are involved in the protective equipment.
All these processes have a name. Metal Inert Gas (MIG) is also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). Stick welding is also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW). Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). The first process I learned was SMAW. The way to start welding with this machine is the only materials you need for this machine would be the machine, a chipping hammer, a wire brush, and electrodes. Now the electrode is a metal rod covered in material called flux. These electrodes, when welding, are held by a electrode holder also known as the stinger. The flux is the substance added to the metal rod to help it make the weld. These electrodes different in numbers also but different than the helmet. The most used electrode would be E6013. The “E” stands for Electrode, the “60” stands for Tensile Strength, the “1” stands for All Positions, and the “3” stands for the type of Flux.
This shows the welder welding the pipe using SMAW.
The next process I learned was GMAW. This process uses argon and carbon dioxide gases. This machine also uses wire and the wire is the electrode for this machine. The materials needed for this process is the machine, a gas cylinder, needle-nose pliers, and wire cutters. This machine uses a torch unlike SMAW. This machine feeds the wire through the torch when pushing the trigger. The gas used in this process is a shielding gas its purpose is to protect the weld while welding. All of the processes have a torch/stinger and ground clamp. The ground clamp must be hooked on either on the metal table, if you are welding on a metal table, or if you are working on a big project, hook up the ground clamp to the project. The torch contains a nozzle that directs the gas to the weld. After almost every fifth weld the nozzle has to be cleaned because some of the metal gets in the nozzle. Cleaning the nozzle only uses the needle-nose pliers to sort of scoop out the metal pieces.
This is the torch used to weld for MIG.
The last welding process I have learned so far is GTAW. This process uses argon compressed gas as the shielding gas. This process has a more smaller arc than the other processes. In order to start welding with this machine there’s is a sort of petal to step on to start welding. In the torch of this machine there is a metal rod and that rod is called a tungsten. This process is mainly used for small metal medical equipment. In order to make the weld with this machine you need the torch and a long piece of wire and this wire is called filler wire. This filler wire doesn’t go on or in the torch, you hold it with other hand. You hold the torch with one hand and the filler wire with the other. The torch sort of makes a crater in the metal then you use your filler metal to fill in that crater. The torch melts the surface metal to make the crater and as well as the filler metal to fill in the crater.
This shows the welder using TIG to weld the metal.
Now the Plasma Cutter uses 1000 degree arc of plasma able to cut through any conductive metal. This only uses torch, compressed air, the machine, and the ground clamp. This process isn’t as bright as the other processes and doesn’t require a welding helmet. For this process you would wear a five shade pair of glasses. All these processes use a lot of heat so touching the metal after you weld or cut it would give you a severe burn sometimes even with the leather gloves on. So using tongs would help from getting seriously injured. This is what I learned from ROP about welding.
This shows the person cutting the metal with the plasma cutter.